CAMP POINT, Ill. — No matter how big the lead grew, Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball coach Eric Orne knew his team couldn’t relax.
Matt Long-coached teams don’t let you.
So when an 11-point first-quarter lead Monday night against Central-Southeastern was whittled to three by the midpoint of the second quarter, Orne worried how much tenacity it would take for the Raiders, ranked third in the Class 2A state poll, to avoid a complete meltdown.
“We were in a dogfight,” Orne said. “I knew we were going to be in a dogfight. That’s how Coach Long’s teams play. You have to scrap and claw and not get yourself in foul trouble in the first half like we did.
“The combination of that stuff made it a dogfight in a ring where we kind of had to take some blows, wait our turn and get out of there surviving.”
The Raiders did that with defense. QND limited Central-Southeastern to two points over the game’s final 10:43, closing on a 10-0 run to cement a 50-37 victory.
“Obviously, we had to adjust,” Orne said. “When we went to that 2-3 zone for a while, it limited a lot of their driving and took away from their offense.”
Despite a 20-point first half from Raiders sophomore Abbey Schreacke, the Panthers trailed only 34-30 at halftime after scoring the final five points, including a 3-pointer by Abbey McMillen and a 15-footer by Brilyn Lantz a smidge before the halftime buzzer.
Another 3-pointer by McMillen and Libbey Ippensen’s layin from the left side of the lane pulled C-SE within 36-35 with 2:43 remaining in the third quarter. QND didn’t answer until Schreacke drove the middle of the lane for a layin with 21 seconds left in the quarter.
The Raiders scored just four points in the third quarter, going 2 of 12 from the field.
“We have to understand what kind of mentality we have to come out with,” Orne said. “We have to have the mentality to play smart and do the right things in the first half to put people away.”
It took until the fourth quarter to do that.
Schreacke scored on the opening possession of the fourth quarter, only to answered with a basket from Lantz. The turning point came in the next possession when QND’s Haley Schettel buried a 3-pointer from the left corner for a six-point advantage.
The Panthers committed turnover on three of their next five possessions.
“We did just enough,” Orne said.
Schreacke led the Raiders with 24 points, while Lexi Schaffer added nine points. Lantz led the Panthers with 13 points and McMillen added 11.